Category Archives: Southernisms

My Father


Most dads would just say, “Well, that’s unique.”

My dad had more Southern style than that. He’d say: “I’ve been to two county fairs and a goat race and I’ve never seen anything like it!”



I often write about my father, but this time I want to write about my Momma.

Growing up, the basement was always cold.  We had a wood stove on the upper floor of the house, but not on the lower floor.  On winter days when we’d be down in the basement, we’d fire up the kerosene heater to keep things toasty.

When the snow would fall, my mother would pull out her quilting frame that would let her stretch out the quilt so that she could sew on it.  I can remember playing underneath of it, watching her sew.  This is how I first saw the movies “Dr. Zhivago” and “Gone with the Wind.”




Just ’cause.

I’ve had  a rough week.  Yeah, there are grits in my cupboard, but sometimes you need some gravy and a flaky crust to get you through the morning.

And sweet tea?  Oh yeah, sweet tea, too.



When I was a kid, my father used to often say, “I hate like thunder that …”  I knew that that meant, “I really hate that …”

But thunder was a big deal to me.  As a child, i was often afraid of the loud storms that would roll over August County, where I grew up.  One time, during a particularly bad storm, he took me into his lap and leaned me back against him.

“Don’t worry, honey,” he said.  He tried to explain how thunder was just sound.  But I didn’t get it.  Thunder sounded like something really big and mean.  Then he tried again, “Honey, you hear that awfully loud sound?”

I nodded.

“Well, that’s nothin’ to be afraid of.  It’s just the water wagon rollin’ through heaven.  That old sound, it’s just its big ole wheels turnin’.”

It’s the same story I told each one of my kids when storms have hit here.  And just like then, it works every time.



More southern phrases I heard growing up:

“Well, she’s cuter than a June bug.” (I know it’s supposed to be a compliment, but have you ever SEEN a June bug?)

“What’d you do, son?  Comb your hair with an egg-beater?” (Yet again from my brother to my nephew, who was blessed/cursed with a ton of cowlicks)

“Well, that takes a special kind of stupid.”

“He was as nervous as a pig on ice.”

And from my school teacher (she was talking to a student that kept trying to haggle about turning in homework and if they did this and that to make up the assignment.)  “Oh yeah?  Well, if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his @$$ when he jumped!”

Dad … You said what?


I love my father.  I inherited his height.  Being a woman and over six feet tall makes me definitely look like his side of the family.

My husband, while not short, isn’t as tall as I am.

After we were first married, we did laundry at my parents’ place.  We were on our way up North (something my father definitely didn’t like).  Anyway, my dad called me into the laundry room with a frown on his face.  He was holding a pair of blue jeans.

“Baby,” he said.  “I’m sorry, but I think we shrank a pair of your jeans.”

“No, Dad,” I replied.  And I let him know that those jeans belonged to my husband.

Dad gave a whistle and then said, “Well, honey, your husband’s a good man, but I think that boy was picked when he was green!”

More Southernisms


A few fun sayings I grew up with:

“You look rode hard and put up wet.”

“You can’t make silk out of a sow’s ear.”

“Beauty’s only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”

“She’s gotta face that would make a freight train take a dirt road.”

And from my brother to my nephew, “Boy, you look like you just combed your hair with a firecracker!”



Yep.  i have the flu.

When we were sick as kids, my father would say that we were looking “… a little green around the gills” or the immortal “you’re looking weak around the eyes, baby” or “I knew you were sick because you were lookin’ peaked (pee-ked) all day.”

On the rare occasions that he was sick (when the flu pounced on him, it really got a-hold of him), he would tell me, “Honey, I think I’d have to get better in order to die.”

Fun Southern Sayings


Most dads would just say, “He made me really mad.”

Mine has a lot more style and sometimes pulls out one of my favorite Southern phrases, “He made me so mad that I wanted to smack him in the face with a wet squirrel.”

I just keep thinking of Dug the dog from the movie “UP”.  SQUIRREL!